I often hear that my soaps look downright edible, but I think I may have outdone myself with this decadent Chocolate and Roses Valentine Soap. It’s a beautiful dark bar with what looks like a swirl of nougat running through the center, and if you don’t want to lick it on sight, there might be something a bit wrong with you. These cold processed bars are loaded with rich cocoa butter and moisturizing olive oil, and they work up into an utterly lovely creamy lather. I’m not sure how you couldn’t be completely smitten with them, so let’s dive in.
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My desire to make these bars nice and chocolatey without pouring $15 of cocoa absolute in them led me to adding a lot of cocoa butter. I used some nice dark stuff, but creamy white cocoa butter will work as well—you’ll just need more iron oxides to get the lovely chocolately brown hue we’re shooting for. Make sure you aren’t using refined/deodorized cocoa butter for this; you want cocoa butter that makes your mouth water when you smell it. In percentages this high, some of that cocoa-y goodness will carry through to our final bars. NOM.
Thanks to all the cocoa butter we’re using we don’t need another hardening oil, either—that means these bars are vegan! I was going to add some silk but opted not to in order to keep them vegan, but you definitely could add some if you’re so inclined—silk in soap is a beautiful thing, and very fitting for Valentine’s day!
I would recommend soaping these bars a bit warmer than room temperature—especially if your home is as chilly as mine is these days. Thanks to the liberal dose of cocoa butter in these bars you’ll find the batter gets quite thick, quite fast (as you can see in the video), so if you want a smooth pour, it’s definitely in your best interest to work at a slightly warmer temperature (~38°C/110°F) so things stay a bit softer a bit longer.
The middle swirly milk-chocolatey bit is made by adding a bit of titanium dioxide to the dark brown part to create an extra creamy center that had me repeatedly reminding myself that it was not actually chocolate mousse, despite both looking and smelling like it. Sigh. I used a handy dandy Gear Tie to do the hanger swirl with. Not only are gear ties much easier to bend than coat hangers (no faffing with wire cutters and pliers, hurray!), you can get them in a bunch of different gauges, so you can use a thicker one to get more defined swirls. Highly recommended! I just popped mine in the dishwasher afterwards, too, making clean up easy-peasy.
I decorated the top with a pink mica swirl and some pretty dried rose buds. When you slice the soap be sure to come at it from the side so you don’t drag bits of dried flowers and mica through the bars (the flowers in particular can create some very sad gouges down the bar).
I left these bars to saponify uncovered and uninsulated, and after twenty four hours they were really firm—you wouldn’t want to leave them any longer! They cut beautifully—little to no knife stick, with beautifully smooth surfaces. Oooooh. Again—no licking! I know you want to, but don’t!
Anyhow, that’s about it. Let’s make some Chocolate and Roses Valentine Soap!
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Chocolate and Roses Valentine Soap
Per 500g (1.1lbs) of oils:
- 15g | 0.53oz benzoin essential oil
- 10g | 0.35oz rose fragrance oil or rose essential oil
- 1.5 tbsp clay—either white kaolin clay or your chocolatey-est coloured smooth clay
- 3/4 tsp titanium dioxide dioxide, dispersed in castor oil
For colour (as needed—pick either):
To decorate (as needed):
- Pink mica (I used Kiss Me My Darling from YellowBee)
- Dried rose buds
- Castor oil, to disperse the mica in
Calculate to a 5% superfat
Use SoapCalc to calculate your final amounts of oils, lye, and water based on the size of batch you want to make.
Follow my standard soap making instructions, letting the oils and lye water come to rest at room temperature (or a bit above, if it’s quite cold where you are).
Once your soap batter has reached trace, blend in the clay and essential oils, and cocoa powder with your immersion blender until you have a lovely, smooth final bar that’s free of dry clods of powder. At this point, adjust the colour of the batter using the cocoa powder or iron oxides until you have a rich, chocolatey colour.
Pour about 1/3 of the batter into a smaller container (I’ve been using these neat funnel pour containers) and blend the titanium dioxide into that portion to create a milk-chocolate coloured batter.
Pour half the dark batter into your mould, smooth it out a bit, and knock the mould on your counter to help settle things down. Top with the milk chocolate layer, and the rest of the dark. Smooth all that down and firmly rap the mould against the counter—if your batter is as thick as mine (see the video), you will have to do this quite a lot.
Hanger swirl time! Watch the video to see how I did this. Basically, make a square U-shape with some wire (I used a gear tie) and drag that through your soap batter while moving it up and down to create swirls throughout your loaf. Repeat the counter wacking after this point as you will have pumped a bunch of air into the batter.
For mica swirls, drizzle the pink mica in castor oil over the top of the soap, and drag a toothpick through it to create pretty swirls. I then scooped up the sides a bit and put a row of dried rosebuds down the middle.
Leave it to saponify for 24 hours before removing it from the mould, slicing, and leaving it to age for at least 3–4 weeks. When slicing, slice from the side so you don’t drag bits of rose buds and mica through the soap.